Serious Voice NY Rap Queen talks with Refocused TV after showcasing her film documentary at Brooklyn College.
Serious Voice is a female rapper/singer who brings a heavy dose of hip hop, laced with new school and old school tones. Classified as an inspirational rapper, Serious is often told she sounds and favors Grammy Winning artists Remy Ma and Missy Elliott, but Serious is just a different brand of artist once you partake in the “experience”. The award-winning rapper recently captured the attention of Sway Calloway of Sway in The Morning and was given the opportunity to freestyle live for him at the 2017 SXSW in Austin TX. Serious Voice was also showcased in national publication ESSENCE MAGAZINE for her versatility. In March 2016, her music video for Thirsty, which has garnered thousands of hits, was showcased at the largest music stage in Texas, SXSW, via the Wix which was attended by tens of thousands.
Serious knew from the age of 12 that she was created to rap. She didn’t know how things would work out, but kept working on her craft.
She was 21 years old, on missionary work in Johannesburg, South Africa and was asked by a Deacon from her home church to perform at an evangelical concert. After giving up on her gift, she was very reluctant, but was obedient. That day Serious impacted many, the wheel-chaired bound, despondent and depressed were delivered and many set free and she knew that she could not turn back.
After her missionary work was complete, she headed home to record Y.E.S.(Yielding Entirely To The Savior), a song that took many locals in the New York Tri-state area by storm in 2000.Then in 2009 she felt the very strong urge to take her music to the next level and began to seek out better producers, management and the like.
In 2011 she signed a deal with Holywood Records, a Florida based label. During that year she auditioned for the Staten Island Gospel Fest and became a finalist and was honored to minister to folks from across the tri-state area. That same year, coordinators at WIADCA, a secular Caribbean organization that organizes the annual labor day parade invited Serious as the first female Christian rapper to perform on the Brooklyn Museum stage for the WIADCA GospelFest.
Serious released Are You Serious Vol 1 in January 2012. The mixtape was available on all major Christian hip hop sites and prominent Mixtape site Datpiff, garnering over 11k downloads.
In August of 2012, Serious was nominated as Female Rap Minister by the Kingdom Choice Awards Committee. Since the nomination, she has successfully toured various parts of the US and consistently minister in Texas, New England, Upstate New York and Florida.
Now under the label Serious PPL Music, which is headed by Christopher James, Serious continues to tour and do local and national shows. She is gearing up to release the highly anticipated album Shofar on November 18, 2016.
Today Serious Voice, who is an ordained minister, directs the adult choir at Massapequa Tabernacle on Long Island, NY and teaches Sunday School.
Music Artist Gary Burk III
Guest: Gary Burk III
Hailing from Western Pennsylvania, Gary Burk III’s musical journey began at age 9, while riding along with his dad to their family camp. There was a song playing on the radio…some old-time country tune that touched Gary in a way that would change his life forever. Drawing inspiration from his biggest influences, Alabama, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, Gary fronts his 3 piece band of outlaws, performing at events across the region.
Gary’s extensive collection of guitars includes a Custom Built Signature J&B Customs Tele-Style, as well as a Gibson Les Paul Robot Series In Manhattan Blue. He uses a Line 6 M16 module played through an Egnater Tweaker 40 amplifier.
When he’s not touring or recording, Gary enjoys spending time with his twin boys and two daughters.
Gary Burk’s new single, “Friday Night” is being released on MTS Records this spring.
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Music Artist Refocused Spotlight: Durmond Glanton
What or who inspired you to become a gospel artist?
Durmond: John P. Kee made me fall in love with gospel music because of his showmanship and Troy Sneed motivated me to be an artist by constant encouragement and wisdom.
In the Gospel Industry today, what artist would you like to collaborate with and why?
Durmond: There’s a lot of artists I would love to collab with but if I had to choose one, which I can’t (LOL), my top 2 are John P. Kee and The Walls Group. John P. Kee because he is the “Godfather of Gospel”, who wouldn’t want to collab with him. And The Walls Group because they hold a special place in me becoming “Undefeated”.
What advice would you give to one just getting started in gospel music?
Durmond: Keep God first, remain humble and remember, all it takes is one yes.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
Durmond: In 5 years I would like to see myself at my full potential and reaching ultimate goals musically, changing the world one song at a time.
Revelation 12:11 “We are overcome by the words of our testimonies.” I have survived 3 strokes, drug addiction, homelessness, beginning stage lung cancer, the loss of a child and literally was minutes away from committing suicide. I refused to be defeated because I knew no matter what my circumstances were that if God was fighting for me, victory was already mine. I am a great example of overcoming all odds and allowing others to see that ONLY through Jesus Christ, we are “Undefeated”.
The “Undefeated” Story of Durmond Glanton
My story begins on Thursday, July 14, 1977, a miracle named Durmond Lavell Glanton was introduced to the world only weighing 4 pounds 2 ounces. However, since the announcement of my arrival, the enemy had plots and schemes to try to eliminate me. At 6 months old the first attempt on my life was halted when the best friend of my mother, accidentally slammed the trunk of her car on my neck so hard, my mother thought my neck was broken. After checking me into the doctor, it was determined that my neck was only “badly” bruised, but I would be just fine. Mission Failed.
At the age of 4, I fell in love with the drums, but because my parents or grandparents couldn’t afford to buy me a drum set, my grandfather was determined to make sure I did. So what he would often do is tear 2 limbs from trees in his backyard, then turnover pots and pans on his kitchen floor, sit me in the middle of them, and allow me to “Bang Away”. It was then, at the age of 4, when I taught myself rhythm, and how to play the drums. I would practice on a real drum set every Sunday playing at the church (Redeem COGIC) right up the road from my grandparent’s house in Willamson, NY. By the time I was 6, I was the church drummer and very skilled at it. Some spectators from visiting churches would be amazed at this “little boy’s” drumming skills at such a young age. For that reason alone, I remained faithful as a drummer to Redeem COGIC.
The second attempt on my life happened when he was 8 years old. I was standing at the bus stop with my older brothers in the freezing cold in Webster, NY. It was snowing hard and I remember it piling up so ridiculously. That’s when a car lost control coming around the corner and struck me going close to 40 mph on an icy road. I remember being strapped to the gurney being asked NOT to move. I was rushed to the hospital and my mother, Evangelist Clara Harrell, was told by the doctor that I had no broken bones, no bumps or bruises, and the snowbank that I landed in HEAD FIRST was the reason for no serious injuries. Mission Failed.
So you may ask, “Durmond, is this really your story sir?” No not at all. These are early testimonies as reminders to me that the Devil ALWAYS had a PLOT, but God ALWAYS had a PLAN! I could really keep going on with testimonies of my life as a teenager and young adult, and i promise when I have the time I will share it with you all, but I really wanted to share the part of my story that really brought my “Undefeated” campaign about.
I served as a musician at church every since I can remember. Even after the Lord saved me and filled me with The Holy Ghost. I also served as an Elder on the ministerial staff at the church. I was called into evangelism and traveled to various churches around the country to preach at conferences and revivals in various states. I was serving the Lord, serving my Godfather Superintendent Henry Prior at my home church, and serving other ministries on the road as an Evangelist. LIFE WAS GOOD. Then all of a sudden, all hell broke loose in my life. (Can I just be transparent and tell the truth?) I started to experience real life struggles at home, at work, EVEN at church. The warfare was REAL Ladies and Gentlemen. It seemed like I was fighting demons EVERYWHERE I went, and honestly, I wanted OUT. So I made myself disappear. I figured if I stopped preaching, singing, and playing (Drums and Organ), and doing the “church” thing, maybe the struggle would stop. It ended up being one of the BIGGEST mistakes I’ve ever made in my entire life. In an instant I lost my job that I had for 13 years, I left a home that I had spiritually established, and found myself walking the streets of Rochester, NY, homeless. Before I knew it, I was selling cocaine, addicted to cocaine, drinking alcohol excessively every day to not only numb the spiritual pain, but to also “Prove” that I’m not that “church boy” that everybody thought they knew. I knew the Saints that knew me were praying for my deliverance, but I really was going through it y’all. It had got so bad, that I was sleeping in shelters, and on park benches, and I really didn’t like the person I had become. I decided on one Thursday night, “I’m going to church this Sunday, get prayer, leave the church and go back to the streets and find a way to end my life.” That was my plan from that moment heading into the weekend, and attending church “One last time”. And let me tell you, that weekend before the final Sunday, I partied like I was a crazy man on Friday and Saturday. I figured since this is it, I might as well go all out. The “friends” I was hanging with had NO idea where my mind was.
So here it is, the final Sunday. I woke up early, shaved myself clean (thinking that when my body is being viewed in my coffin, my head would be nicely shaved). The Devil really had my mind. I got dressed, got picked up by my boy Ced who was the church drummer at the time, and headed out to Redeem-Bethel COGIC one last time. There really isn’t much I can remember about the service that day, but I do remember my GPops along with the rest of the church praying for me at the altar. I remember crying so hard at the altar because I knew by the following Sunday I would be just a memory. After church I hugged just about everyone I could get my hands on to say my goodbyes. As I was leaving the church to go back to the streets, then the shelter, and then death, my Aunt Michelle Odita, who was also the church choir director stopped me and Ced in the parking lot of the church before we pulled off and handed me a blank CD and said “Durmond if you don’t do ANYTHING ELSE, please listen to this song on here”. I told her ok and put the CD in my pocket not even thinking about it. So i got back to Good ol Clinton Ave, called Mother Irene Nowlin for some encouragement, got a few drinks to numb myself, chugged them all, and headed for the shelter to take a bottle of pills and die in my sleep (I’m in tears writing this). As I got to the shelter, I chilled in the lobby area where there were about 8 others there with the boombox playing. I don’t know why, I can’t even explain til this day why I asked the brothers there if i could listen to a CD real quick before going to bed which they agreed to. So I injected the headphones, popped in the CD, and pushed play. Let me tell you!!! I couldn’t stop crying listening to this song. I felt like God Himself was talking DIRECTLY to me. Yes, the song that was on that CD SAVED MY LIFE!!! (For the respect of the artist I won’t tell y’all what song it was) I made up in my mind that I didn’t care how long it took me, I was going to GET UP, and get my life BACK together again. So you know the Devil was mad, right? The very next day, I had a stroke and was hospitalized for 6 days not being able to use my left side. When you are flat on your back like that, there’s not really much to do but pray, and write. And that’s EXACTLY what i did. I promised God that if He gave me another chance, I would do His will and share my story to help others “get through it”. I started writing a poem that i named “Undefeated “. I am a Lefthander, but remember, my left side was out of commission. So what did I do? I wrote it with my right hand (let that sink in). That tells me that even at my weakest moment, I can still do ALL things through Christ that strengthens me (Philippians 4:13), that makes me UNDEFEATED. Mission Failed.
I’m now a skillful Minister of Music at the WOW (Winning Over the World) Church in the Atlanta area. I’m an accomplished songwriter, vocal coach, music teacher, music producer and recording artist. My main goal in Kingdom work and in life, is changing the world “One song at a time”. I plan to give back to less fortunate churches in their music department to help build strong bible based musicians for Ministry. I’m a great example of overcoming all odds, and allowing others to see that ONLY through Jesus Christ, we are “UNDEFEATED”!
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